Body compressed, deep, oval, greatest body depth 1.8-2.2 in SL; 1 pair of nostrils; edge of bone under eye smooth; preopercle smooth or with occasional fine serrations; mouth small, protrusible, opens at front; teeth in 2 rows, outer conical, larger; gill rakers 27-33; a single continuous dorsal fin, XIII, 12-14; anal rays II,12-13; pectoral rays 19-21; 2-3 short projecting spines at upper and lower base of tail fin; caudal fin forked; scales large and rough; 16-19 lateral line scales; body scaled, most of head scaled, basal parts of the median fins scaled; lateral line incomplete, ends under end of dorsal fin base.
Light brown with darker scale margins; juveniles blue with neon-blue stripe above and below eye, and broad whitish band along base of dorsal fin that joins diffuse pale bar across tail base.
Maximum size to 15 cm.
Inhabits rocky reefs.
Depth: usually in about 1-200 m depth, but shallow in the Galapagos (5-45 m).
Southern California to the lower Gulf of California, all the offshore islands, and Lobos de Afuera islands off Peru.